Facing adversity and fear truly tests the character of a person. For Andrea Jeffrey of Huntington Beach, or "AJ" as she is affectionately known, challenges have only made her stronger. Fourteen years ago, AJ was diagnosed with Progressive Systemic Scleroderma and was given 1-2 years to live. But, she fought through renal failure, congestive heart failure and other challenges as a result of her condition and beat the odds to not only survive, but thrive. She went on to battle breast cancer and major knee surgery. "Facing such battles," she says, "makes you a better person."
As a volunteer for the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial, AJ now offers support to other cancer patients as they struggle with their own journeys. She has experienced firsthand, both as a patient and a volunteer, the compassionate care Orange Coast Memorial provides. "From the little personal items offered to patients to make them more comfortable, to the support of volunteer programs like the one in the Cancer Institute, I appreciate the fact that Orange Coast Memorial cares so much about our community to make patients the top priority," says AJ.
When considering the legacy she wanted to leave to inspire not only her three grandsons, Nate, Elliot and Daniel, but everyone in the community, AJ named Orange Coast Memorial as a beneficiary in her estate plans and is a member of the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation's Legacy Circle. When asked why she decided to include Orange Coast Memorial in her plans, she had several reasons. "Accessing health care shouldn't be a matter of good fortune," she says. AJ recognizes the need in the community and sees what MemorialCare has done for her and wants to be a part of its future.
"That's part of what legacy does, it fulfills a need for those moments you see someone in need and can't get help," said AJ. Because of her generosity, Orange Coast Memorial will be able to continue to help others in need in the future. AJ says her gratitude is from the heart. "MemorialCare makes legacy a verb not a noun," says AJ.